With the slight delay to open the season, we are too far out from the beginning of the season to begin looking at Week 1 matchups so let’s take a look at some other steals-related topics. For the last few weeks we have been focusing on hitters but let’s instead take a look at stolen bases from the defensive side of things. Over the course of the season, we will look at the week ahead and evaluate players who have good matchups for stolen bases. The biggest piece of this is looking at opposing catchers and the stolen base rates allowed. Here are a few notes on some of the worst catchers from 2021.

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Max Stassi – Opposing runners swiped bags at 85% clip against the Angels backstop last season second-worst among players who caught 70+ games. This may provide a small bump to the SB totals for all hitters in AL West. This includes some later-round targets like Tony Kemp, Kevin Smith, JP Crawford, and more.

Austin Nola – Nola only caught 48 games last season but he allowed stolen bases at an 87% rate. He is likely to catch the bulk of the games for the Padres in 2022. This gives the various NL West speedsters a bump and can lead to some big weeks when they face the Padres. This includes players such as Chris Taylor, Raimel Tapia, and Sam Hilliard just to name a few.

Travis d’Arnaud Braves’ backstop Travis d’Arnaud like most of his career had an injury-riddled 2022 season and struggled in the SB allowed department. Opposing players swiped bags at an 84% clip, a number that appears to be in line with his recent career rates.

Mitch Garver – The new Rangers’ catcher has always been an offense-first catcher and as a result, he is not a defensive stalwart. Across his 59 games behind the plate, base stealers stole bags at an 83% pace. He is the second AL West catcher discussed here meaning that this could be a division to target for base stealers.

Overall, across every division, there will be at least one weak link catcher that will be worth targeting in daily leagues or aligning with a series in weekly leagues. Leveraging these matchup-based advantages could be the difference of five or more stolen bases across the length of the season and could make a difference overall. These seemingly small advantages are the differences between good and great fantasy managers.